I’ve been thinking. Not on purpose, it just happens. I’ve been thinking about where I’m going, with my work, with this blog, as a person, as an artist, as a symbol representing an artist or person in the mind of someone else. I’ve been thinking about self-promotion, and how it doesn’t come naturally to me but also I’ve been avoiding doing it because before I promote myself I have to understand what part of myself I want to promote and find worth promoting, about how maybe a lot of my “just do your own thing” beliefs stem from a fear of looking too closely at who I am and what I actually have to offer– or, perhaps, want to offer.
I have a tendency to follow the path of least resistance. Most people do, I think, it’s just that people encounter many kinds of resistance so even when water always flows downhill the direction of the hill changes for everyone. I’ve been confused in a bunch of slight ways about what this site is and what it’s about. First and foremost, I consider myself a game designer. Actually, I consider myself a wannabe game designer, and perhaps I always will no matter how much game designing I actually do, but as best as I can observe I have a relatively strong understanding of what works and doesn’t work in game design and why. Discussing these aspects of game creation, especially in the context of a specific game or set of games, is very similar to what critics and reviewers do, but I don’t consider myself a critic or reviewer. While I deeply admire the work that a lot of critics put into dissecting and understanding the medium, I think what they pursue with their writing and what I pursue with mine is slightly different: Understanding vs improvement, the generalities of mechanics and specifics of narrative vs the specifics of mechanics and generalities of narrative. I don’t mean to speak too broadly here, and depending on how each subject is approached they can become very similar explorations, but thinking about design of an experience is, in general, a bit different than critiquing that experience as a whole.
Though, it ought be noted, not as different as many people believe either. The design of the game encompasses the whole experience. Narrative vs design is a made-up conflict. But let’s table that for now.
Here’s what I’m getting at: I want to refocus my work here. I want to go back to having regular writing deadlines, even though that can be very difficult, and I want to stick primarily to thoughts on design and the experience associated with it, both as creator and as audience. I will probably still dip occasionally into other realms of systemic thinking or whatever else catches my fancy, but I will regard these as auxiliary to my writing’s intent. Assigning myself games to write about will probably continue, but I’ll just write about them when I’m done with them and write other pieces in between, rather than waiting weeks to complete them and posting when I’m finished. New posts should go up at noon on Saturday, new devblogs will go up noon Sunday. There. Simple.
Another thing I want to do is give this its own dedicated site. WordPress.com has been good to me, and made it incredibly easy to get started doing something which I felt a lot of initial resistance towards and has been a tremendous positive in my life, but I can’t keep doing things the easy way and the very url I pass around makes it look like I don’t take this seriously – and that’s made me feel like I’m not taking it seriously, and thereby end up, in fact, taking it less seriously. Over the next few weeks I’ll see about getting Problem Machine hosted somewhere, and then consider what to expand the site with. If nothing else, this will give me someplace to put a full webpage for EverEnding when it’s ready for it.
I’ve also been wanting to create some sort of video content for a while. I’ve been very hesitant because I’m, frankly, uncomfortable with the sound of my own voice, and the thought of speaking into a microphone fills me with subtle but potent dread. This is something I’m just going to have to fucking get over, because if there’s one thing I can’t afford to be as a developer in a personality-driven subsection of the game industry it’s shy. I’m not quite ready to set a deadline on this (need to get the new site up and everything first), but I’ve said it here so at least now it’s out there as a thing I said I wanted to do.
Finally, expanding out from the previous point, I’d like to speak at some events. I don’t really know how to get started on this, though I’m sure there are resources out there to find out, but before I start applying to speak anywhere I need to figure out what to talk about. I’ll be looking through my old posts to try to find some of the more interesting ones and see if I can turn one or more of those into a 30-60 minute long lecture.
It’s strange the way that just saying words about what you intend to do shapes your future. Just by saying what I want, I chart a course. I may get lost along the way, but at least, no matter what comes next, I made that decision. I spoke a future.